Are women more adventurous in how they date? Indu Harikumar’s #HowWeDate looks for answers
After the success of #100IndianTinderTales - a 100-day project showcasing crowdsourced stories of how Indians use Tinder - artist and illustrator Indu Harikumar partnered with Tinder to ask #HowWeDate. She crowdsourced stories on dating, love and relationships using social media and then turned some of them into illustrations.
From what her crowdsourced stories tell us, women are looking for a lot more than only long-term romantic relationships online.
From stories of love at first sight to epic first dates that turned into friendships, from platonic relationships to longing for deep love, or heartbreaking stories of unrequited love, Indu came across a myriad of anecdotes.
The user stories reflect regular apprehensions, fears, perceptions and even validations about the idea of love, dating and sexuality. The responses are indicative of the changing nature of women’s mindsets, approach and candour when it comes to romantic relationships and expressing their sexuality. Are we channelling the liberty to reconsider decades of conditioning towards marriage, commitment and finding the one as a woman’s dating prerogative? And with more economic and educational freedom, is it true that women now have the power to define what they want out of a dating experience for themselves? Are age-old assumptions about gender roles in relationships - who approaches whom, how desire is expressed, and who is supposed to be sensitive and who strong - no longer true?
Discovery: Traditional norms of Indian society make it extremely difficult for most of us, especially women, to meet someone outside of our immediate social circle. These barriers are amplified further by the fear of rejection, judgement, unsolicited attention, and the taboo label attached to dating. However, technology, smartphone accessibility and the private, judgement-free space dating apps provide is reflected in the way the dating scenario is evolving.
Control: This generation has mostly seen and often partially lived first-hand a world of arranged marriages, gender segregation and sexual taboos - a world of limited choice. And now they are literally choosing a different paradigm for themselves - especially women.
Choice: Women expressed less shame associated with romantic relationships and the desire to meet new men not just for the possibility of love but also to discover themselves, while others are candid about their desire to explore their sexuality.
Indu Harikumar -
Indu Harikumar is an artist, illustrator and storyteller who strongly believes in recycling everything especially love. She has written and illustrated several children's books before starting the viral #100 Indian Tinder Tales, a crowdsourced art project in 2016. Post that she has worked with storytelling and art working in gender, sexuality, body image and has done both personal and professional projects. Part of her work from #100IndianTindertales will be exhibited at Kunsthalle Bremen, a museum in Germany.